Washington — Sales by U.S. retailers registered $404.6 billion in May, up 5.3 percent from May 2011 but down 0.2% from April, according to the monthly retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Among the channels that sell home products, furniture and home furnishings stores posted a year-over-year gain of 8.7% while advancing 0.4% ahead of April. General merchandise stores increased sales 0.7% from last year while their checkouts were down 0.5% from April. Sales at department stores (excluding leased departments) declined 0.9% from last year but were up 0.2% from April.
The year-over-year total marked the 23rd consecutive month in which retail sales rose from the prior year. The decline from April’s sales total meant that consumers were taking “a more practical approach to their spending,” the National Retail Federation said in a statement.
Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO, said the May results were evidence that “consumers are simply taking a breath. Going forward, retailers will make sure to keep a steady eye on key economic indicators, being cautious with inventory and promotions as back-to-school, the second biggest time of the year, approaches.”